x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Anchors away but putting issue is not sailing to sunset in golf

With anchoring of long putters to the abdomen banned, the purveyors of the long sticks in the United States have banded together to consider possible legal remedies.

With the news last week that the game's governing bodies have banned the anchoring of long putters to the abdomen or other body parts, the purveyors of the long sticks in the United States have banded together to consider possible legal remedies. Christopher Pike / The National
With the news last week that the game's governing bodies have banned the anchoring of long putters to the abdomen or other body parts, the purveyors of the long sticks in the United States have banded together to consider possible legal remedies. Christopher Pike / The National

The divisive anchoring issue is like smacking a tee shot with a titanium driver, knowing at impact that it was doomed to sleep with the fishes, then watching its inevitable slice into watery oblivion. We know where this is headed.

As expected, the lawyers are standing by. With the news last week that the game's governing bodies have banned the anchoring of long putters to the abdomen or other body parts, the purveyors of the long sticks in the United States have banded together to consider possible legal remedies.

Some have proposed that the PGA Tour ignore the ban, which will begin in 2016, and write their own rules.

But the game has lived by a unified rule book since the Scots first whacked balls with a shepherd's crook, so that is not a change to be taken lightly. Not to mention that if the pro tours allow players to use putting techniques that have been banned elsewhere, some might be characterised, if not ostracised, as cheaters.

The PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council (Pac) met this week in Ohio, and numerous opinions were aired. There will never be a clear consensus on this issue, and the only moment of clarity was this – the topic is destined to become a long-running one.

"If you're a guy that anchors, you probably want to do it as long as you can," the Pac member Bo van Pelt told Golfweek magazine.

"And some people probably want it to be that we don't have to talk about it anymore, as soon as possible."

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